State Street moneymakers and miserable paralegals alike flock to Alís State Street Café Express ó a surprise oasis of good eating amid the brutal downtown rush. Clad in bright-yellow shirts, the fast talkers behind the counter do their best to keep the line moving, so youíd better know what you want by the time you get to the front of the hot- or cold-sub line. At $6 for a large thatís at least a foot long, and $4 for a generous small, these sandwiches are among the best bargains in the city, and since theyíre all made with fresh ingredients on just-baked French bread, itís tough to order the wrong thing.
Among the cold subs, the State Street Café Special stands out, with extra-lean prosciutto livening up the typical mozzarella, basil, and tomato sandwich. Hot subs require a bit more of a wait, but the payoff is no less satisfying. Chicken is fresh-grilled for variations on subs that include pesto, portobello mushrooms, and eggplant, and the savory tenders can also be added to any salad for an extra $2. Steak-sub lovers might want to try the Sicilian steak, which is cooked with roasted plum tomatoes and portobello mushrooms.
Salads donít veer too far from the typical insalata ($4) or caesar ($4), but can be spiced up with a scoop of tuna or chicken salad for an extra buck. The State Street Antipasto ($6) offers a fair sampling of Alís primary ingredients: Italian cold cuts, provolone, plum tomatoes, red onions, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Brisk, friendly service is also the norm at Alís, so donít be intimidated by all that barking from behind the counter; they aim to please.
Alís State Street Café, located at 112 State Street, in Boston, is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, until 2 a.m. Call (617) 720-5555 or visit www.alsstatestreetcafe.com.